College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

VPA Faculty Awarded 2019 Creative Work Fund Grants

Congratulations to VPA Chair Angelica Muro and Associate Professor Hector Dionicio Mendoza Anguiano

Photo by: CSUMB Visual & Public Art Department
Angelica Muro and Dionicio Mendoza

Congratulations to VPA faculty Angelica Muro, Department Chair and Associate Professor, and Hector Dionicio "Dio" Mendoza Anguiano, Associate Professor! They were awarded two of just 16 grants to Northern California artists who are collaborating with local nonprofit organizations to create new works in traditional arts and visual arts. These grants celebrate the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities.

Angelica Muro received $45,000 for I Am Chinatown Salinas | Yo Soy Chinatown Salinas, a participatory project documenting Salinas’s Chinatown from socio-cultural, historical, and urban revitalization perspective in collaboration with nationally renowned and regional visual artist Binh Danh.

VPA is building on a ten-year active role of revitalization efforts that both acknowledge some of the pressing issues of the Chinatown neighborhood as well as emphasizes the importance of history and place. The I am Chinatown Salinas | Yo Soy Chinatown Salinas project focuses on the use of the photographic medium to strengthen community through photographic documentation of the Chinatown landscape that reflects on cultural development strategies and the revitalization of Urban Public Space.

It is the first project to commission an artist of national renown to work specifically in Salinas' Chinatown, and the first to strategically include art as a platform to involve people and communities in debate, collaboration, and social interaction through a lead artist's outreach and education program.

Among other activities, VPA has worked with Chinatown residents to document their rich history. Furthering that effort, Dahn will use the daguerreotype as a photographic method to spark conversation about Chinatown’s historical merit while also capturing current revitalization efforts. With VPA students, he will conduct interviews, hold storytelling workshops, and produce a panel discussion with community members.

This project would challenge artistic imagination and organizational thinking because the artwork created will hold equal importance to the collaborative act of creating it. Through this project, we want to reinforce the power and potential of this community, which includes its people, history, and landscape. Our objective is to collaborate with residents to improve their community and quality of life on their terms.
-Angelica Muro, VPA Department Chair

The completed artwork series is slated for an exhibition at the Visual & Public Art Gallery in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences building.

Dio Mendoza received $45,000 for his collaborative work with the Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga to create Creando Espacio/Place Making: Immigration, Rituals and Transitoriness. This installation on the Montalvo grounds will represent a space of healing, contemplation, memory, and collaboration. It will highlight the loneliness and isolation often felt by immigrant communities, while seeking to open up a positive, healing dialogue that explores rituals practiced by peoples from Mexico, and Central and South America as they prepare for the long and challenging migratory journey to the United States. Also participating will VPA faculty emerita Amalia Mesa-Bains.

Given that community helps to alleviate loneliness, the collaborators seek to create a sense of belonging for local immigrant communities at the installation, and will present artist talks, hands-on workshops, musical performances, and other activities at the site.

Creando Espacio is a collaborative space making or making space project that was inspired by migration and memory. It is both a collaboration with ethnobotanist artists, who work with themes and issues of migration, as well as site specific installation that contemplates and explores long and, often, arduous journeys as ritual. My hope is for people to gather and activate space, and to reflect on issues of migration.
Hector Dionicio "Dio" Mendoza Anguiano, Associate Professor

As taken from the Creative Work Fund Grant Award Page:

“The 2019 Creative Work Fund grant recipients include artists who are looking to the past — revisiting and sharing traditions from such nations as Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tibet,” says program director Frances Phillips. “Other artists are taking traditional tools, such as the Vietnamese Dan Tranh (zither) and the 19th Century daguerreotype process, and applying them to the expression of contemporary contexts. Several of the 2019 artist recipients have dedicated themselves to social activism — bringing caring, humane treatment to community members without homes, sharing stories of immigrants, or recognizing the community service of those who have lived with HIV or disabilities for many years.”